Wednesday Round Up #114

First off I want to thank my great student assistant Casey Dolezal for all her hard work supporting the Wednesday round-up since last September. She’s been a huge help!

And now onto the news. I’ll start with the good part. I am taking an associate professor position in anthropology at the University of South Florida starting in August. I’m really excited, as I’ll have a wonderful new set of colleagues, graduate students (finally!), and access to great people working in the medicine, public health, and neuroscience. Should be a big benefit for pushing forward with interdisciplinary work of all sorts!

The bad part, at least for you guys, is that I’ve decided to take a hiatus from doing the Wednesday round up until early September. Basically Casey has spoiled me! So now I want to have another student to help out, and that won’t happen for a few months. But it’s also because I have to move to Tampa over the summer, as well as push forward with our volume on neuroanthropology (yes, Greg and I are plugging away on that!) as well as my own book on addiction. That’s an extremely full plate! I’ll still be doing the occasional post, along with Greg and Paul and others, so no worries – there will still be plenty of good content flowing through here.

Top of the List

Palgrave Macmillan, BioSocieties, Special Issue: Drugs, Addiction and Society
An excellent special issue that is entirely free right now! Here is the opening overview “Drugs, Addiction and Society” (pdf) by Deanne Dunbar, Howard Kushner and Scott Vrecko.
Kushner kicks the issue off with “Toward a Cultural Biology of Addiction” and David Courtwright finishes with “The NIDA Brain Disease Paradigm: History, Resistance and Spinoffs.” In between there is neurobiology, history, development, public health, and more!

Vaughan Bell, The Politics of Social Engineering
Politics, social engineering and the use of mimes as a traffic calming measure in Bogotá!

Mara Altman, Rutgers Lab Studies Female Orgasm Through Brain Imaging
This newspaper reporter donates an orgasm for science! A very effective mix of personal experience, reporting, and science writing about neuroimaging and the state of the art in research on orgasms.

Christina Pikas, Review of an Article Using Bibliometric + Qual Methods to Study Sub-Discipline Collaboration Behavior
Pikas reflects on a piece where the authors coalesce network analysis of the co-authorship network with qualitative interviews with the scientists to look at intergroup collaboration, migrations, and exchange of services or samples.

NDtv, James McKenna: The Last Lecture Series
Featuring Professor James McKenna, Professor of Anthropology and the director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab. As a world-renowned social scientist, a teacher of Irish tap dance, and one of Notre Dame’s most beloved teachers, Professor McKenna has impacted the lives of many. Here he shares his wisdom in an online video.

Power Trip

Ed Yong, Power Breeds Hypocrisy – Powerful People Judge Others More Harshly but Cheat More Themselves
Five experiments show that powerful people are more likely to behave immorally but paradoxically less likely to tolerate immorality in other people.

Deric Bownds, Embodyment: A Two-Minute Powerful Pose Raises Your Testosterone Levels
Humans and other animals express power through open, expansive postures, and powerlessness through closed, constrictive postures. And there is a physiological effect!

Meera Lee Sethi, If I May Be So BOLD: How Charisma Can Make You Hand Over Your Brain
Does charisma have a powerful effect on people?

Jennifer Gibson, The Brain Rejects Inequality
Well, sort of. The human brain likes balance, not just biological and physiological homeostasis, but emotional, social and economic stability.

Sam McDougle, Statusticians
The researchers of this study utilized an uncomplicated competitive task (i.e. clicking a blue circle as soon as it changed color) to establish an experimental, skill-based hierarchy (clicking faster = better) among participating subjects


Devin Leonard, Microcredit? To Him, It’s Only a Start
From microcredit – the practice of lending tiny amounts of money to the poor – Muhammad Yunus now wants to create social business. Is this the new model for the world?

Jonah Lehrer, Enculturation and Wall Street
The process of enculturation doesn’t just afflict middle-aged scientists, struggling to appreciate a new anomaly, but is a problem for any collection of experts, from CIA analysts to Wall Street bankers.

Rex, Cultural Anthropology’s Virtual Issue on Business Cultures
New special issue of Cultural Anthropology gets the Savage Mind treatment

David Graeber, Debt: The First Five Thousand Years
Throughout its 5,000 year history, debt has always involved institutions that place controls on debt’s potentially catastrophic social consequences. It is only in the current era, according to David Graeber, that we have begun to see the creation of the first effective planetary administrative system largely in order to protect the interests of creditors.


Tara Parker-Pope, The Talents of a Middle-Aged Brain
“Brains can get forgetful as they get old, but they can also get better with age,” reports Ms. Strauch, the health editor at The New York Times.

The Neurocritic, Coordinates, Consensus, Cooperation: Towards a Cumulative Science of Human Brain Function
A great session at the 2010 Cognitive Neuroscience Meeting on developing a cumulative science of human brain function that progresses knowledge through formal synthesis of the quickly growing functional neuroimaging literature.

Pharmacy Technician Certification, 50 Fascinating Brain Science Blogs
Get your 50 fascinating brain science blogs here.

Jason Snyder, Spatial Learning Sculpts the Dendritic Arbor of Adult-Born Hippocampal Neurons
Learning creates richer dendrites – longer and with greater branching

Vaughan Bell, Cell Intelligence and Surviving the Dead of Winter
How do we define intelligence? Is it just the ability to autonomously solve problems? If this is the case, then individual cells such as neurons may be considered ‘intelligent’ even when perceived in isolation.

Divya Mathur, Societal Assumptions on Abuse and the Victim’s Perspective
A “trauma model” has been built around sexual abuse that views it as being straightforwardly traumatic and frightening, and unavoidably damaging. Is this the best model?

Blue to Blue, Think Again
In Current Psychiatry, editor Henry Nasrallah offers what he calls a “psychiatric manifesto” – an interesting if typical example of the “perennially insecure” status of the discipline.


Nicolas Baumard, Is There a Language Instinct?
Cognitive scientists attack Chomsky’s theory and propose a radical alternative.

Steven Novella, Foreign Language Syndrome
A critical examination of the story of a Croatian girl who awoke from a coma and could speak fluent German.

Sam Roberts, Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages
New York is home to as many as 800 languages.

The New York Time Room for Debate, Why Do Educated People Use Bad Words?
Lots of experts weigh in! I wish the f’ing Times had allowed cursing. For a funny example, here’s a video of TV host Meredith Vieira swearing while playing a driving game designed to show the problems with texting while driving.

Babel’s Dawn: Edmund Blair Bolles, Grand CRU d’Utrecht
Terrence Deacon’s three step scenario for language, involving different brain mechanisms and relaxed selection.

Babel’s Dawn: Edmund Blair Bolles, No Language Universals in this Theory
Morten Christiansen and the distinct evolutionary processes of arbitrary and functional features in language.

Babel’s Dawn: Edmund Blair Bolles, Beyond Urtecht
This is really the summary one. Looking at the two main dimensions of language – or integrating biology and culture.


Ryan Anderson, The Subject(s) of Anthropology
Getting beyond the “Other” slot to create new narratives

Helen De Cruz, Endorsing Evolution: A Matter of Authority?
There appears to be substantial cross-cultural variation in the degree to which people endorse evolutionary theory. Looking to cognition and culture to explain that.

Adam M. Goldstein, Blog Carnival of Evolution #23, May 2010
This month’s Blog Carnival of Evolution attracted 33 postings on a wide range of topics!

Peter Osborne, Peter Hallward, Dr. Stella Sandford, and Éric Alliez, Get Involved in the Campaign to Stop the Cuts
Campaigning against shutting down philosophy at MiddleSex.

David Segal, It’s Complicated: Making Sense of Complexity
The Great Recession and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, arguably the toughest problems we’ve confronted in decades, are nothing if not enormously complicated. And humans don’t do a good job trying to make sense of these problems.

Ted Glasnow, Isaac Harrington, and Jordan Bai, Congratulations to the 3 Public Anthropology Award Winners at the University of Notre Dame in Prof. Vania Smith-Oka’s ANTH 13181 Class
Three letters arguing for the return of blood samples to the Yanomami.


Erico Guizzo et al., CyberWalk: Giant Omni-Directional Treadmill To Explore Virtual Worlds
Built by Italian and German researchers, it’s the largest VR platform in the world. Includes a video.

Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illnesses
A rich online set of resources, includes videos on specific topics and esteemed speakers.

Hilary Stout, Antisocial Networking?
For today’s teens and preteens, the give and take of friendship seems to be increasingly conducted in abbreviated snatches of cellphone texts and instant messages, or through the very public forum of Facebook walls and Myspace bulletins. Do they need more face-to-face time?

Grant Tavinor, Video Games and the Philosophy of Art
Are video games art? Looking at some great recent games for answers.

Jill Laster, Students Denied Social Media Go Through Withdrawal
I hope you can take the summer-long hiatus! Next Wednesday fix in early September!!

4 thoughts on “Wednesday Round Up #114

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